The Chrome OS update to version 75 is finally rolling out beginning today and unlike its desktop counterpart, this one brings quite a few user-facing changes with it. In fact, the list of changes seems to include at least one alteration or improvement for everybody who might use a Chromebook.
To begin with, the most impactful change will likely center around the addition of a storage feature that was only just recently revealed in the Dev Channel of the OS. Namely, that's a change that enables third-party Android applications that have requisite Android DocumentsProvider APIs in place and enabled to access a Chromebook's file management system.
After the update, applications such as Microsoft's OneDrive or Box.com's cloud storage app should now appear and function like Google's own Drive directory within the Files application in Chrome OS. Summarily, that means users will now be able to choose which cloud storage provider they are syncing and using on a Chromebook, as long as the developer has enabled it.
Parents and kids will gain a lot from the incoming update too since enables a 'kid friendly Assistant for child accounts'. It also lets parents or guardians responsible for providing oversight of a Chrome OS gadget in use by a child to grant more time that's allocated specifically for the device's use.
Aside from the usual security patches and updates, the final Chrome OS 75 change listed by Google is going to be a boon for users who want to develop software on the platform. More directly, it finally unlocks USB ports to access connected Android devices within the context of Linux applications and software.
Is there more here to USB support in Linux?
The changes to USB support within Linux should be especially useful to Android developers who are using the recently added Android Studio IDE on Chrome OS. The most obvious use for that is going to be to port out apps to a connected device for testing and it should enable devs to accomplish similar tasks without needing a secondary computer laying around for that sole purpose.
Although completely unconfirmed at this point, there could potentially be more to that change than the release notes might suggest. Commits spotted back in April seemed to suggest that version 75 of the OS would finally see the USB ports opened up in Linux to support just about any USB device whether that's a microscope or a 3D printer.
Whether that's been enabled just yet or not isn't immediately clear but the ports gaining further support should indicate that particular feature is much closer to becoming a reality.
What took so long?
Now, Chrome OS 75 was initially scheduled to land way back on June 11 and Google hasn't provided any details as to why it was ultimately delayed. The hiccup may have been something as simple as bugs in the system itself that needed more time to work out but there are at least a couple of glaring omissions with regard to expectations for this update as well.
Among the biggest changes that were predicted based on reports stemming from bug tracking and the code base include a wealth of adjustments meant to make performance on Chrome OS tablets better. Those may have been pushed back at this point but Google has also since revealed that it will no longer be focusing any resources on developing new hardware on that front.
Those changes could just as easily have been slipped in without announcement but there is at least some chance that the shift in direction for Google's hardware development led to the delay itself. Regardless of why the update was delayed, Chrome OS 75 should land on most current Chromebooks within the 'next several days'.